Second Bed Bug Seminar (2/5 in Astoria)

by nobugsonme on February 6, 2008 · 9 comments

in bed bugs

The second NYC bed bug seminar was last night.

Anything to report?  How does it compare with the first, if you attended both?

If you attended, comment below to share your thoughts on how it went.

1 Winston O. Buggy February 6, 2008 at 3:55 pm

The other night I attended the monthly meeting of the Astoria Civic
Association. The speaker for the evening was Elise Shin from NYC HPD
who spoke on a topic of concern to many New Yorkers the recent return
of bed bugs. The meeting started promptly at 8:00 PM with a ten minute
back patting session between the Vallones Sr. & Jr. Gale Brewer, the HPD
Director of Operations and a waiving of minutes from the last meeting. At this
point both council members went on record as being opposed to bed bugs.
Ms. Shin started her upbeat presentation to the approximate 250 persons
assembled with a power point presentation which quizzed the audience on some simple bed bugs facts and then moved on to biology. During her presentation she touched on several topics which she said she would cover later but she didn’t. In the course of the evening Ms. Shin mentioned the following which I found quite interesting if not amusing given my previous knowledge and experiences with Cimex.

1. She was surprised and had only learned in the past year that bed bugs were a
problem in other parts of the world as well. To make her point Ms. Shin then
quoted Chairman Mao from a 1958 speech in which he talks about eradicating
the four pests which were plaguing China at that time flies, mosquitoes, bed bugs and rats. (Interesting to note that we are still battling these pests today)
2. That bed bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide with no mention of heat.
3. That bed bugs hibernate like bears only not like bears, but the same as bears.
4. Bed bugs are crinkly.
5. If you are not successful in controlling bed bugs you probably have
both lectularius and hemipterus (tropical bed bug).

I found some of her presentation reduced to catch phrases and junk science especially when it came to her definition of why DDT was gone, why bed bugs had returned and the definition of IPM. I will say that in discussing it with some folks who attended the first meeting she did mention nymphs/instars and their smaller size. I found it interesting as well that she attributed the rise of bed bugs to people visiting foreign countries but was vague as to the role an influx of people from these countries might have played. At one point they experience some technical difficulty but I was in the rear mirrored room and could only see one of the two screens. When the time came for questions, the audience some of whom were in shock about the abilities of bed bugs, they were told that there would only be time for three or four questions. Actually there were about seven before the chair told people to call 311 with their questions and closed the monthly meeting of the Astoria Civic Association. Following the meeting the speaker and the two council members did remain available to answer additional questions. I must say that Ms. Brewer seemed sincere and dedicated to helping to improve the current state of affairs.

In summation all cynicism aside at least they are doing something. To those who have or are experiencing bed bugs it did not seam like enough. To those who have not it was informative and they are probably better equipped to deal with them should the need arise. It is important that they emphasized the steps the occupant must take in terms of preparation and that time is of importance. So although there is room for improvement in the presentation it is a start. Unfortunately although she did a good job of presenting bed bugs are still new to Ms. Shin. Personally it gave me an opportunity to catch up with a few good folks I know like Lou Sorkin and Gil Bloom. And as the February meeting of the Astoria Civic Association came to a close they ended with coffee and cake, what can be bad.

2 hopelessnomo February 6, 2008 at 4:25 pm

And what statement about the “role an influx of people from these countries might have played” would have satisfied you?

3 lieutenantdan February 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Well I had box seat tickets for what appeared to be the hottest ticket in Astoria, New York last night. I must say that it was better than I had expected.
Overall it was a good thing to see the city take a small step in the right direction and that baby step is educating people on bed bugs.

I arrived early and by the time the show was ready to start it was standing room only and both young and old were present.
The highlight of my evening was to have the priviledge to sit and converse with two of my favorite bug people our friend Mr. Lou Sorkin and Mr. Gil Bloom. Lou brought what I called Lou’s magic cube. The cube appeared to be a large square cardboard box with some of his what should be award winning photographs of bed bugs pasted to it. The magic cube interested people many of whom made faces of disgust at Lou’s famous 1st instar nymph sucking on a finger picture that we all have come to know and love and hate all at the same time. Lou did not bring with him his jar of bed bugs for fear of the possibility of breakage but did have a laptop with info and images like the bed bug jar moving picture show.

The politicians were, well, politicians. The one who struck me the most serious and stated something like that that she hates bed bugs and we must get rid of bed bugs was Councilwoman Gail Brewer. I could sympathize with her because I could see in her eyes that it must be a long battle trying to get our political machine to understand and see the light.

During the slide show you could hear many people gasp while viewing a fully engorged bed bug as the speaker informed them that they do not fly but will drop from your ceiling onto you.

I was the first person selected to ask a question and I got two rapid fire questions off before the place got noisy and the crowd became somewhat unruly and I was quickly hushed up.

Vallone Senior ran the show.

My questions.
A bed bug infestation can cost thousands of dollars to battle. What plan does the city and state have to help compensate the individual home owner? Can expenses be deducted?
What is the government doing as far as pesticide treatments for our public transportation?

I got hushed up real fast but my questions were heard by the people because I could hear many saying
Good questions! That was good questions!

My opinion is that the government for now and as long as they can get away with it plans to do no more than putting on some
public meetings with coffee and cake served and that is all.
This meeting for the most part told us what we can do if we become infested which is hire a PCO.
The speaker informed all that these bugs could be everywhere and went down a long list which included picture frames, electronics etc… More gasps from the audience.
Basically they told us about all of the hard work that we would have to do in trying to solve a bed bug infestation but told us nothing about what our government plans to do to slow this epidemic down a bit.

The way I see it. Tuff luck buddy, you deal with it!

4 paulaw0919 February 6, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Well, on a small good note, based on what Winston and LTDan both say the seminar seemed to be a bit better than the last one and more informative. Yes, this is a small step, but at least in the right direction. LTDan, I want to personally thank you for being there and for asking the questions that you did. There may have been no answer at this time but the people heard you. People were paying attention and absorbing a lot. To the fellow bedbugger much of this is common knowledge, but to others there seemed to be a lot of information to absorb. (remember how overwhelmed we were looking for knowledge during our infestations?) I’m sure many are now on the internet searching for more knowledge and that is also a step in the right direction. They will now have a little behind them if/when they do get infested. The questions you asked will also stick in peoples minds and as more get infested will want to know, maybe demand the answers as well.

5 nobugsonme February 7, 2008 at 1:02 am

Thanks everyone for the recaps. I am sure more details will trickle in with others who attended. I was not able to attend again due to a work conflict, so I am glad you could be my eyes and ears.

6 lieutenantdan February 7, 2008 at 11:45 am

paulaw0919, too bad I did not know who you were I would have liked to have met you in person.

7 paulaw0919 February 8, 2008 at 8:36 am

Unfortunately I was not able to be there but really wish I was. I do wish I could meet you and many other people from this site that have helped during our infestation.
I hope that NY is looking at what Cincinnati is doing and will follow suit soon. The sooner the better.
We live in north Jersey and in the past two weeks when going out with the kids shopping I’ve noticed 6 homes within a 10 mile radius from my house that are going through infestations. (tons of black garbage bags closed with cable ties on garbage night, broken up furniture outside, mattresses etc..) Not good. I think it’s time for me to make an appt to speak with the school board on this.

8 nobugsonme February 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm

A reader pointed this article out to me: a recap of the Astoria event in the Queens Gazette.

9 lucy March 1, 2009 at 11:15 am

What is the mayor of new york city doing aout the bed bugs in city school. He worried about traffic and the teacher’s are getting bed bugs

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